Pretty Little Liars Recap for Episode. 3.24 - A Dangerous Game
1) You know the episode is going to be intense when the Previously on Pretty Little Liars opener is a montage of all the intense things that have happened thus far. We’ve got flipped tables, mannequin hands, snakes that will battle mannequin legs, mannequin bodies falling on Hanna, elevator shafts in free fall, flying detective bodies, Paige in the closet again (Hi, Paige!), inappropriate male adults pursuing female minors, postcards destined to be read in the sexiest husky voice Spencer can muster, a bebulleted (ya know, instead of bedazzled) Caleb, a fire at Rosewood High, and naked Spencer in her own sauna. My it’s been quite the season.
2) Hanna, Aria, and Emily are sitting in the kitchen of casa de Hastings waiting on Spencer to descend down the stairs and greet them with her glorious presence. They don’t want to talk about Rosewood’s latest dead body that has been shipped off to the state coroner for further examination because they don’t want to land Spencer back in Radley. I’m not sure why the state coroner needs to look at this body because, well, DNA tests exist. And unless that body was wearing a Toby skin (and the A team is ridiculous enough to collect enough of his dead skin cells to make one, so that might actually be plausible), I imagine one of those tests would be pretty effective.
Anyway, Spencer comes down the stairs with her hair back at its Pantene commercial volume and sleekness (this is what suppressed secret hair looks like) and delivers an overly stoic season 1 throwback line about hope breeding eternal misery. She addresses the tea and crumpets that have so nicely been laid out on the kitchen counter by Spencer’s imaginary parents for the liars to snack on. Hanna asks the question that is one everyone’s mind. No, it has nothing to do with Radley or anything at all to do with Spencer’s recent downward spiral. The question is, “What’s the difference between a crumpet and an English muffin?” Aria tries to rain on her parade, but Ms. Hastings holds up her hand and says, “Silence, tiny mortal. An English muffin is a baked bread. It’s made of dough. But a crumpet is a griddle cake. It’s made of batter.” I have learned more in the first five minutes of this show, than I did in class today.
The liars are all like, “Ok, you can be real with us.” So, Spencer draws on the difference between her and Emily that was highlighted with the “weak link” line last week. Unlike Emily, who could hold it together to decide to keep on living, she “lost it” after she saw Toby’s body in the woods. But she made the decision not to be a victim any more, so here she is. She hands them invitations to a party her parents are hosting to put her on display to all their rich friends to prove that their daughter is lively and energetic and not pouncing on people at academic decathlons anymore. The liars say they’ll be there. Aria adds, “We’d do anything for you.” Spencer says, “I’m counting on that.” And I am yelling, “What the hell is wrong with all of you? Spencer doesn’t have parents!”
2) Spencer is in the A lair loading phone numbers onto a mobile device and checking out a landing space for an airplane on Google maps. She’s doing this in her black hoodie with the hood up and her hands are covered by black leather gloves. Because she is Spencer Hastings, and she goes big or she goes home. Who cares if Mona walks in wearing a black t-shirt and some coffee? Spencer is going to out A Mona by never taking off her uniform, never showing her face even while in the lair, and by drinking the souls of 7 year-old children. Mona announces that she and presumably Red Coat like Spencer’s fake parents throwing her a fake party plan, and her reward will be shipped to her on Friday.
3) The liars have congregated outside the cafeteria to discuss the ethics of using a recently kidnapped 7 year-old to send Mona back to Radley because that place was able to contain her adrenalized hyperreality so well last time. Spencer says the move was too bold for Mona, which is an interesting thing to say given that she was the one who threatened the son of a mental health professional to get her out of town. I’m assuming Spencer saw this flaw and corrected it with the explanation that the move seemed desperate, like she wanted to get caught. Nice save. Aria asserts that her boyfriend’s child is off limits, so, naturally, Hanna ignores this and decides to apply for a career in babysitting Alex Mack and Ezra’s lesbian mutant child. Kids may love Hanna, but Shana does not. She walks up to the three remaining liars and says the word “wet.” It’s more like, “Hey, Spencer, girl I just met, if you show up at our swim meet, the pool won’t be the only thing that’s wet. I’ll look for you.” Shana walks away, and Spencer is beyond confused while Hanna is beyond annoyed. We get the best lines of the episode with…
Hanna: I hate her.
Hanna: Because she flirts with everyone but me.
I agree Hanna. Anyone that doesn’t want to flirt with you is wrong and should be avoided. Also, this is, like, the second time you’ve talked with invested interest about flirting with girls. Is there something we should know?
Speaking of lesbians, Ezra catches up with Aria and tells her that working at Rosewood might not work out. Aria’s very blase about the whole thing and walks away. The camera lingers on an Ezra who makes it very clear through exaggerated facial expression that there is more to this story.
4) Back at the Cavanaugh home, the unopened letters from Hogwarts are still in the mailbox, but someone’s home this time. Jenna (Jenna! I missed your face!) is on the phone saying things like, “You said you would make this all go away” and “I’m worried. Now the police have evidence.” I’m assuming she’s talking about wanting all of these Hogwarts letters to stop arriving because the wizard cops are on to her about making Toby disappear so that he’d be forced to live a muggle life forever and never fulfill his true destiny. Spencer A is outside the window texting away in black leather gloves, which is really impressive because it is effing hard to type in gloves like that. Jenna receives the text A just sent her with a meeting spot. They’ll be meeting tonight, and oooh this is so exciting!
5) Byron Montgomery barges into his daughter’s room and is all like, “Ezra can’t teach at your school because I’d rather see his kid go hungry and homeless than have you two in the same room together.” Aria’s all like, “Deja vu, dad. We did this storyline. Chill out. Ezra and I will not be fornicating in the same space my classmates will be spouting off graduate level analyses of Shakespearian sonnets.” Byron is dedicated to this storyline happening, so he breaks the news that Ezra did get the job, but he asked for the day to think about it. What I’m getting out of this is what I get out of every Byron scene: Nobody likes him, and he needs to be that dead body in the woods.
6) Fitz is interviewing Hanna for the babysitting position and explains that his son is into trains. Hanna says, “All aboard the Hanna Express,” and I just want to know where I can get tickets to board as well. Ezra asks her for a resume, and I want to ask him if he’s ever met Hanna before. She levels with him and explains that it’s been awhile since she’s last interacted with kids and she needs something to do. He agrees to give her a test run, and Hanna adorably says that it will work out. But Fitz’s face totally says, “What am I doing? Oh, well. My kid’s already had to go to the hospital and been kidnapped under the care of my girlfriend. Hanna can’t do much worse.”
7) Jenna exits her blue convertible like a BAMF, and the editor kindly gave us a really long shot of her legs. Thank you, thank you, thank you. She sits down at a table and announces to the person sitting opposite her, “I missed you. They’ll all be together this Friday. You know what you need to do.” The woman sitting across from her asks about her eyes, and Jenna explains that there will be “good days and bad days, until they’ll all be bad days.” They hold hands and the camera moves up to show us that mystery girl is Shana (!!!) (SURPRISE!). Shana sweetly says, “On your darkest days, you know I’ll be here for you.” And I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a blindness pun or just really poor wording. Regardless, are Jenna and Shana a thing? Because that’s something I didn’t know I shipped until right now.
8) Ezria breaks up, and I actually yelled, “Goddammit, Ezra! How are you this charming IN A BREAK UP SCENE!?!” Watching Lucy Hale cry also makes my heart hurt. She’s just so tiny, and I am completely against tiny people being sad. This scene actually made me have an emotional reaction to Ezria, and I haven’t had one of those in months. Well done, Ian and Lucy. Well done.
9) An A is sitting in a booth at the diner Emily visited the night she ran all over Rosewood as a result of being drugged. Someone walks in and the lady behind the counter calls them “pretty eyes.” At this point, I was 100% sure it was Toby because HAVE YOU SEEN KEEGAN ALLEN’S EYES!?! They are the prettiest shade of blue, and when I looked up this information for fanfic research purposes the other day, I legitimately spent 15 minutes staring at photos of them. Then a picture of him and Shay Mitchell popped up, and I was reminded that I’m a lesbian. A good half hour was spent staring at Shay Mitchell hair porn photos. Seriously, her hair is magical. Like, if I could be someone’s hair, it would come down to her hair or Dianna Agron’s Glee tour hair. Is that weird? That’s probably weird. I’m writing this at 4am, so I’m going to say weird things. ANYWAY, IT WAS TOBY! Which means, he’s alive. Or he’s a really high-functioning zombie. Anything goes in Rosewood.
He sits down opposite other A and announces that Hanna got the job. Other A says, “I know” and slowly looks up to reveal to all that she is Spencer Hastings, and she is wearing heavy amounts of eyeliner to match her newly blackened soul, thank you very much. Troian keeps up her Emmy-worthy acting in this scene by bringing Spencer to an emotional edge but ultimately having her maintain her composure. Toby didn’t know about the incident in the woods until after it happened, but he let Spencer continue thinking he was dead. How could he have watched her fall apart like? Why didn’t he interfere? He’s been working with Mona to keep Spencer safe. Their relationship was real. They both put people they love in a considerable amount of danger to be together, and it’s the weirdest sort of romantic. And I just need to take Spencer home and wrap her up in giant blanket and give her some coffee to wash away the stench of all the souls she’s consumed to keep her cover.
Toby says he needs Spencer to trust him enough to follow him and leaves. Spencer sits at the table and gives us a face that’s a mix between being unsure and thinking, “I’ve come too far to stop,” and “hey-now, hey-now, my boyfriend’s back.”
10) Hanna is in Big Fitz’s apartment trying to get his son to play a game. But Malcolm is staring glossy-eyed at Elmer Fudd tracking a rabbit. In true anti-babysitter form, she says, “Fine, but you should know that watching TV rots your brain. It’s your choice if you want to grow up to be stupid.” Malcolm looks at her and you can just see the mini-existential crisis this 7 year-old is having at the prospect of growing up stupid with Ezra Fitz as his father. He’d bring dishonor on the family. Naturally, the kid turns off the TV. So Hanna whips out her phone which is apparently stocked with yearbook photos of everyone in Rosewood. It’s not CeCe, Mona, Melissa, Jenna, or Toby. So Hanna’s out of ideas and tells the child she’s going to make a phone call. Malcolm asks for her phone to play a game, and Hanna gives it to him. I’m completely confused as to how she’s going to make a phone call without it until she picks up Ezra’s landline, and Ezra must be the only person under the age of 30 who has a landline.
11) She calls Emily who is out for a night run. Not an evening run. A night run. Because Emily has learned that living your life in the daylight could mean getting locked in a barn and almost dying. It could mean your girlfriend is getting kidnapped by the person who murdered your previous girlfriend. So Emily Fields has decided she’s going to live her life, dammit. So take that, rape apologists. Anyway, she stops in front of the Cavanaugh’s because Melissa Hastings is pounding on the door. She goes inside and has a conversation with Jenna and Shana that has something to do with tapes and the “bitches being at the lodge at 9.” Emily is rightfully freaked out.
12) Toby and Spencer are at a motel called MOTEL. It’s one of Toby’s spots that Mona doesn’t know about. He heard my mental suggestion and hands Spencer a cup of coffee to wash out the taste of child souls. She asks about Red Coat, but he knows nothing about her except that she’s in charge. Which Spencer already knows because she’s photographed and organized everything in the lair in a binder nice enough to impress Mitt Romney. He says, “You still don’t trust me?” And Spencer replies with, “Duh. You slashed the tires on my best friend’s car after hearing her girlfriend have a panic attack. You sent me into a downward spiral that ended in me kissing Wren of all people and running around the woods, mouthing nonsense at the sky.” They’re both crying and decide that now would be a good time to kiss. When this scene happened last night, someone in my hall screamed. Spoby shippers have had their faith rewarded with sweet, sweet Spoby kisses and sweet, sweet Spoby sex in a MOTEL room…and we actually get multiple shots of that neon MOTEL sign to really set the romantic mood of this whole thing. We also get Spencer only wearing a t-shirt, and it’s so nice watching a television show where the writers actually like me.
13) Hanna is making dinner for Malcolm, and this dinner consists of balanced and nutritious ingredients: grapes and cookies. She explains to him that she had weight problems as a child because she turned to cookies when her dad left. Is this is her way of trying to bond with him over dad issues? Anyway, Malcolm interrupts her with a picture of Ali and Spencer that popped up on her phone. He’s all like, “It’s Allison!” Hanna’s like, “No, kid. She was murdered with a shovel.” But Malcolm is adamant. “I remember her pretty hair, Hanna! The girl in the blue shirt is my first crush.” I’ve decided I like this kid because he likes Spencer’s hair as much as I do, and Hanna has decided that the girls need a plan of action to figure out why their best friend kidnapped Ezra’s spawn.
I’m 99% sure Emily and Hanna broke Aria when they told her their news. She’s kind of bad at dealing with A things that directly affect her. Last week she told Emily, “Hey, congratulations, you actually aren’t the weakest link like we originally thought.” This week we get, “First it was me and Ezra, next it’ll be Hanna and Caleb, and then she’ll come after you Emily. Are you ready to lose Paige? Huh, are you?” I really wanted to slap her for her tone in this scene. Seriously, Aria, your tits. Calm them. Emily, who refuses to jump to conclusions until she’s had the chance to directly ask people if they have any ill will toward her, isn’t buying any of this shit. So she comes up with a plan. Hanna turns on the music, which everyone and their mother understood was to keep the conversation private in case Mona was listening. But Aria didn’t get the memo, and was all, “HOW CAN YOU WANT TO DANCE AT A TIME LIKE THIS?” And Hanna says, “Aria, just shut up and let the grown ups handle this.”
14) It is the day of the swim meet against the Red Devils at Rosewood High. Everyone in town is at this swim meet except Paige McCullers, who should, ya know, PROBABLY BE SWIMMING SINCE SHE’S ON THE TEAM. Dammit, Out of Town, I want my Paige back. We had her first. You can’t keep her forever.
There’s an Ezria scene that parallels a scene they had at the beginning of season 1. Ezra took the job. The break up doesn’t have to be forever. The liars graduate in seven months. They kiss. It’s actually very sweet and kind of symbolic of this relationship coming full circle, but I just can’t with relationships right now when I know there’s an Emily and Hanna plan afoot.
Spencer spots Red Coat outside the school and does what she does best: plays detective and follows her. She follows her a little bit too hard because she lands in a sea of Red Devils red coats aka the most frustrating scenario you can possibly think of at a time like this. But our Spencer is too smart for this. She backtracks and catches Red Coat heading into the bathroom. (Has anyone ever noticed that the girl on the bathroom sign has one super skinny leg?) Spencer turns her around and…it’s Hanna? Hanna says, “You followed me here, that means you don’t know who she is either.” Then Emily and Aria open the doors to their respective stalls in unison, and it’s my new favorite synchronized liar activity. Emily says, “You don’t know who she is either. That means you’re still one of us.” This scene had synchronized liar movements and liars finishing each other’s thoughts. It is everything wonderful and right with this show.
15) The liars offer a really Canadian approach to the situation and tell Spencer that no matter how deep she’s in, she can tell them anything. Spencer spills everything - Mona wanted to break her only to pick up the pieces to make a Spencer robot who would do her bidding, Toby’s been working with her to find out more about Red Coat, oh, and Toby’s totally not that dead body in the woods with his tattoo, by the way, have you guys seen my half brother? Emily’s reaction is the most precious thing. She’s so happy. Her good faith in people is actually working out for her this time. And I just want to be the following comics with her.
Me when I want to just hug her head because she’s so precious.
Me when people try to do bad things to her.
And me when I realize how absolutely wonderful and soft and gorgeous her hair is.
Anyway, Spencer reveals that the party tomorrow night is a set up, and Hanna’s like, “Yo, when were you going to tell us you joined a murderous brigade of psychopaths to gain intell.” It turns out she was the one who sent Hanna that picture of her and Alison to get that information from Malcolm. They acted the way she was hoping they would so that they’d be one step ahead of Mona. AND I JUST CAN’T WITH THIS FRIENDSHIP RIGHT NOW. Like, when you’re to the point where you know you can join the group that’s been trying to off you and your friends, send said friends one clue, and just know that they’ll figure it all out and come up with a plan to help you get ahead, you just deserve a friendship award and a bundt cake.
16) Mr. Fitz walks into class and writes his name on the board and the liars stare at Aria who is totally oblivious to his presence. The first season parallels are super heavy right now. Ezria is really back at square one. He spouts off Hemmingway’s “All things truly wicked come from innocence,” and hell if that’s not foreshadowing of Mona in the rest of the episode.
17) Emily, Aria, and Hanna are in the Marin kitchen getting ready for Spencer’s fake party/set up. I had to watch this scene three times to get the dialogue because Emily…well, Emily should just wear that dress all the time. Bless you, Mandi Line. That dress fits so well. Anyway, Hanna plans on returning her shoes for a full refund after wearing them, and A films them via cell phone from the window.
18) Spencer announces to Mona and Toby that the girls are running late. Mona asks, “How late?” But Spencer’s like, “I can’t hear you over the sound of my boyfriend’s lips against mine.” Mona rolls her eyes at their PDA and screams, “SHE WILL EAT ME IF YOU DISAPPOINT HER!” Toby’s like, “Calm down. I totally have a video of them in Hanna’s kitchen. They’ll be here.”
The liars are outside the house, and Aria asks the question that probably should’ve been asked BEFORE THEY GOT OUT OF THE CAR with, “Are we sure we trust Toby?” Spencer trusts him, and that’s good enough for Hanna and Emily.
Mona talks to someone driving a plane (Gee, who do we know that knows how to do such a thing?) about how everything’s going according to plan and how she’ll get everything she’s always wanted. I really can’t blame whoever’s driving that plane for apparently always wanting to have Emily, Spencer, Hanna, and Aria in the same room together. I would like that as well. But I have a feeling that not trying to ruin their lives would be a better approach at achieving that outcome.
The liars crawl in through the upstairs window just in time to see Mona suggest they take a walk before Red Coat arrives. Toby says he’ll take care of Spencer and barks at her to get up. Spencer feigns disbelief, but he pushes her toward the door as Mona laughs. The liars look uneasy, and I am just in awe of how my trust is happening right now.
Toby and Spencer head off into the woods as a plane flies overhead. He says, “If something goes wrong, you know what you need to do.” AND I AM SCREAMING! WHAT COULD GO WRONG!?! NO, NOTHING IS GOING TO GO WRONG. SPENCER HAS BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH. NO. JUST NO.
An A that isn’t Toby or Spencer since they just went in the opposite direction locks the front door. Inside the liars corner Mona, and she panics. She screams that they have no idea what’s going on, and I’m starting to think they really don’t.
Toby and Spencer separate so he can greet the plane while she shadows from behind. Her goal is to see but not be seen. Someone’s going to find out who Red Coat is. But alternate A is having none of this shit because they light an invitation on fire and drop it on a trail of gasoline, and the fire quickly surrounds the house. Mona sees this and yells, “What have you done?” Ya know, because they totally set fire to the house they’re currently standing in. Like the decent person she is, Emily manages to forget that everyone hates Mona long enough to suggest she check her phone for a signal, but she has none. Aria’s like, “Are you kidding me with this shit?” And we get some truly wonderful acting from Janel Parrish, but, then again, when have we ever not? She panics and frustratedly proclaims that “it’s her! She’s everywhere and nowhere!” They try to escape, but they find the door locked and a fire right behind them. Mona starts to cry and confesses that she never knew who Red Coat was and now she’s never going to know.
Spencer watches Red Coat get off the plane, and sees the blonde hair. “Ali?” While Spencer follows her deeper into the woods, Toby’s trailing someone as well. Before he can get a good look, he is knocked unconscious from behind. The person behind him throws down a lighter. If he gets framed for this fire, I will go all Lima Heights on someone. Not cool. He was already blamed for other murderous schemes. We’re done with that line of thinking.
The girls have fallen victim to the smoke, but someone drags their bodies out of the house. Hanna regains consciousness just in time to stare into the face of one ALISON DILAURENTIS who then vanishes because she’s motherf-ing Red Coat and has super powers. Seriously, she just dragged three bodies out of a burning house in high heels. Logic says that can’t ever happen unless magic is involved. But this show constantly gives the middle finger to logic.
Mona rushes over and asks if anyone else saw Alison. Aria, who doesn’t watch this show and still believes in logic, says, “You are high off smoke fumes right now.” But Hanna backs Mona up as does Spencer.
Toby regains consciousness in the woods and finds the lighter. Sucks for him though because the girls have hightailed it out of there. It turns out Red Coat made a deal with Mona in Radley to help out, but now she controls the game.
Their lovely little chat about making deals with the devil (so the Faust puppet show was foreshadowing. Excellent.) is interrupted by the presence of Wilden’s car. Herbie the possessed police vehicle has been resurrected to haunt Hanna much as Alison has to haunt the liars. Someone on this show should really call the Vatican. Inside the car, the tape of Ashley running under Detective Dickwad is playing, but there’s more footage now. Jenna and Shana were the ones who found Wilden’s body and carried him off. Their date nights are really interesting. Like, how did this couple happen? “Hey, I like dressing up in black hoodies and getting involved in potential homicides in my free time.” “Oh my gosh, me too! Let’s make out.”
Spencer moves to the back of the car and tells everyone to come look at the trunk. The liars plus Mona all receive texts. “You’re mine now. Kisses. -A.” Apparently, Spencer saw this as incentive to open the trunk because A texts always come before happy discoveries. They all gasp in horror.
19) Somewhere in the time warp, a hand shoots out of the ground much like it did in the Halloween episode. Except this time, someone’s there to help pull the person up.
I NEED JUNE 11TH NOW.
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